Academy Award-winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto passed away Tuesday after a battle with cancer at the age of 71.
The composer, who was born in Tokyo in 1952, is known widely for his Oscar-winning score for the 1987 film “The Last Emperor” and his involvement in the 2015 film “The Revenant.”
He also won the BAFTA award for Best Score in 1984 for the film “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence.”
Sakamoto’s management company, Common, confirmed his death Sunday in a statement on Twitter.
“We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of artist and musician, Ryuichi Sakamoto, on the 28th of March, 2023, he was 71 years old, read the company’s statement. “While undergoing treatment for cancer discovered in June 2020, Sakamoto continued to create works in his home studio whenever his health would allow.”
“He lived with music until the very end. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to his fans and all those who have supported his activities, as well as the medical professionals in Japan and the U.S. who did everything in their power to cure him,” continued the statement.
“In accordance with Sakamoto’s strong wishes, the funeral service was held among his close family members.”
The statement concludes with the management company asking for fans to respect his family’s privacy and that will not be accepting any condolence calls.
Common also included one of Sakamoto’s favorite quotes.
“Art is long, life is short.”
The music pioneer revealed in 2014 that he had been diagnosed with throat cancer and said a year later that he “was in great shape.”
“Forgive me if this sounds corny,” wrote the late musician. “But the illness brought me a realization, which I am truly thankful for. It truly is a sign from nature or heaven.”
“Taking this sign, I will make sure to avoid my old habits and treat my days left with the utmost care,” he added.
In 2021, Sakamoto said that his cancer had indeed returned.
“From now on, I will be living alongside cancer,” wrote Sakamoto in a statement. “But, I am hoping to make music for a little while longer.”
Sakamoto’s former bandmate, Yukihiro Takahashi, also died this year, succumbing to a brain tumor in Jan. 2023.
Both were part of the influential electronic group Yellow Magic Orchestra, who helped popularize the genre in the late 1970s.
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